Its officially time to get your panties in a twist: By the end of the summer, the Jeep Cherokee will be discontinued. Killed. Offd. Like the corners of your mind.
Jeep actually threw it a lifeline and extended production by about six months due to demand, but now the suits are demanding they let go and fill the void with the Liberty, better known in the old days as the KJ. While the Liberty will be assembled by the same fingers that did the Cherokee, the similarities pretty much end there. Its an all-new Jeep.
While you may not recognize this Jeep by name, or even codename for that matter, its celebrity so far has stemmed from the independent suspension rumor, which is true. The 104.3-inch Liberty will have a coil-sprung A-arm setup with rack-and-pinion steering, and at the rear will be a three-link and coil design. The uniframe construction is the stiffest for a Jeep yet, which should make for dandy ride and handling. An Up Country Suspension Group will be at your disposal to improve off-road performance.
The KJ will have a 154-pony 2.4L DOHC four-cylinder as the standard mill, and itll be linked to a five-speed manual gearbox. You can step up to the optional, all-new 210-horse 3.7L SOHV V-6 thatll be attached to your choice of a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. Command-Trac will be the standard four-by system, but if you get the V-6, you get Selec-Trac. If youre in Europe, there will be a new 140hp 2.5L 16V direct-injection diesel with a five-speed manual tranny.
If the inside seems a tad familiar, its because of the Jeepster concept that inspired it. The rear seat will be a 65/35 split, and all seats will be available in dead cow if you step up to the premium-models leather-seat package. Oodles of airbags (including the ceiling-mounted variety), large gauges, a round-dial instrument cluster, AM/FM/cassette with CD changer, and a roof rack will be among the standard stuff.
The Liberty will hit dealerships this spring.